Newspapers Review




Ohaneze Ndigbo





Below are the headlines found on The Leadership Online Newspaper for today, Monday, 1st January, 2017.

Mon, 1st Jan 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari today morning vowed to fish out those sabotaging government’s efforts in the oil sector, resulting in the fuel scarcity that caused Nigerians untold hardship during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. He regretted that this year’s Christmas and New Year holidays had been anything but merry and happy for Nigerians due to shortage of petroleum product in the country. In a New Year broadcast to the nation aired live on national televisions and radios at 7:00am this morning, the president who said he is determined to get to the root of what he described as collective blackmail of all Nigerians noted that the fuel scarcity is deplorable considering the fact that measures had been taken to ensure petroleum products were available at all the depots in the country. He said, “Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country. “The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again. “Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watchword and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity”. Welcoming Nigerians to the New Year, Buhari however said “this year promises to be pivotal” in his administration’s quest for Change. President Buhari also informed Nigerian about the intense efforts being made by his administration to address the country’s huge infrastructural deficit. He assured that the federal government is going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country. According to him, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing “is one of the drivers of government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”. Noting that the management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones, Buhari said government is currently undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones. He hinted that 25 major highways in the country will be funded under the N100 billion SUKUK facility, with each geo-political zone benefitting by an equal amount of N16.67 billiion. The president listed the major highways that are to receive special attention to include Oyo – Ogbomosho, Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu, Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm, Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way, Onitsha – Enugu Expressway, Kaduna Eastern Bypass, Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, dualisation of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road and  Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road. He added that, while government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road, which is in a state of disrepair, work on the project will be completed in 2019. In respect of railways, he said government has set for itself ambitious targets, noting that the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway is already in construction stage. He said the line, wich will reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019, will carry 2 million passengers per year and 5 million tons of cargo will be transported every year, giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy. He also spoke about other segments of the railway, including the Kano – Kaduna segment, which he said is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019.

Mon, 1st Jan 2018

The nation’s foreign exchange buffer added $12.9 billion or nearly 50 per cent in one year amid weekly intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The foreign reserves monitored by CBN opened 2017 at $25.84 billion and grew to $38.73 billion as at December 28, 2017. The foreign exchange had reached its bottom at about $23.6 billion in October 2016 from as high as $40 billion in January 2014. In September 2008, Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves hit $62 billion, with federal government spending $12 billion to settle external debts. CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in November said, “It is my belief that if we remain resolute with our efforts, policies and actions we can attain foreign exchange reserve position of about $40 billion by end 2018”. Emefiele, in December, disclosed that the nation’s foreign reserves had risen to $38.2 billion, the highest in 39 months. Finance analysts said Nigeria’s foreign reserve ought to have crossed the $40 billion mark in 2017 but impinged by CBN’s creation of special windows to tackle instability in the foreign exchange market. They believe that this development is renewing confidence that the 2018 foreign reserves target of the CBN put at $40 billion is achievable, as the apex bank steps up its management of foreign exchange earnings. They noted that steady increase in the global oil prices had contributed to the appreciation recorded in the nation’s foreign reserves, as international trade also impacted on the foreign exchange buffer of the apex bank. In November 2017, the federal government had raised a total sum of $3 billion through Eurobonds, which was oversubscribed by about $11 billion and split across 10-year and 30-year tranches at issuance yield of 6.5 per cent and 7.625 per cent respectively.

Mon, 1st Jan 2018

The Kogi State government has declared that the emergence of its branded rice, Confluence Rice, is a huge success by the Governor Bello-led administration. Addressing a section of the media at his Takete Ide country home, the director general on media and publicity to the state governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said the release of the rice to the market is a “fulfillment of the promise by government to produce quality home grown rice that can compete with the market leaders”. He said, “Governor Yahaya Bello promised to ensure Confluence Rice hits the market in 2017. That promise has been fulfilled. “Kogi has enough rice to feed the nation. We have just shown that this administration is fully committed to the agricultural revolution it promised the people of the state. Confluence Rice will get even better when our Mills start operating at full capacity. “Confluence Rice has succeeded in not only creating jobs for our women and youth; but also given us a good name across the nation. Nigerians are beginning to know that Kogi is steadily progressing against the politics of destruction by the enemies of the state”. On the controversy trailing production and packaging of the Confluence Rice, Fanwo said detractors were shocked that despite their campaign of calumny, government has remained focused and undeterred in its bid to reposition agriculture in the state. “Patriotic Kogites are celebrating the feat. Only the enemies of the state, who were jolted by the historic breakthrough in rice production, are making issues out of the packaging of the rice. Confluence Rice is a product of our silent revolution in the sector. More success stories are on the way”, he said.
Mon, 1st Jan 2018

Chief of Numana, in Sanga local government Area of Kaduna State, Dr. Gambo Makama and his wife have been killed at their residence by unknown gunmen.   The Chairman of the Sanga local government Area, Abdulmumin Yakubu Ashafa who confirmed this to LEADERSHIP said the Royal Father and his Wife, were attacked and killed  at about 12:18 today. The reason for the brazen attack is still sketchy at this time.

Mon, 1st Jan 2018

Worried by the recurring cases of unwantom killings resulting from clashes between farmers and herdsmen, The United Church of Christ in Nation (UCCN) popularly known in Hausa as “Hadaddiyar EkKlisiyar Kristi A Nigeria” (HEKAN) has called on the Federal government to do all within its powers to end the clashes and the killings. Addressing newsmen at the headquarters of the church in Kaduna, the President Reverend Amos G. Giri said the church was not left out in the attack, stressing that HEKAN KWANTA YASHI, HEKAN GWASKA, HEKAN UNGUWAN ALKALI-MAY, HEKAN DAKWALA, HEKAN DAKOMI, and HEKAN UGUWAN ZOMO were all attacked by herdsmen at various times in 2017. Speaking further, he said about 3 people lost their lives at U/Alkali, Dakwala and Dakomi with many houses at U/Kali, Gwaska, Kwanta Yashi, Dakomi and Dakwala burnt and vandalized. “The herdsmen/farmers clashes around the country are things of concern to well-meaning Nigerians. UCCN condemns in totality the killings of innocent Nigerians through attacks by herdsmen and appeals to the government not to relent in its efforts in bringing the clashes to an end. Those found to be involved should be made to face the wrath of the law. “There is no doubt that Nigerians are passing through hard times as a result of the ongoing economic, Political and Security Challenges in the country. We call on government to increase its palliative measures that will cushion the hardship Nigerians are facing. “The government has the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens. A situation were Nigerians sleep with one eye open due to fear of been attacked, kidnapped or been killed has reached its peak. “It is expected of all Nigerians to embrace peace and leave together as one big family irrespective of Religion, Political, Ethnic or Social differences at this trying time of our Nation. Government can do more in this direction by reassuring Nigerians that they can move about freely without being attacked, kidnapped or being killed through equipping the security agencies with appropriate equipment and facilities required to fight social ills. “Job opportunities should be created for our teeming youths to keep them away from idleness which usually leads to chaotic social ills associated with youthfulness”. Meanwhile, the President said “after due consultations with the Board of Trustees and the General Church Council wishes to inform the General public that the Church has agreed to change its name from the United Church of Christ in Nigeria to the United Church of Christ in Nations (UCCN) that change also applies to the Hausa version Haddiyar EkKlisiyar Kristi A Nahiya (HEKAN) This change however still maintains both the acrimony “UCCN” and “HEKAN”.